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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

November 25, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Round-up: Seattle students walk out of class, Georgia schools get creative with school lunches

Seattle high-school students walk out to join Ferguson protests: Seattle Public Schools says approximately 1,000 students from Garfield High School walked out of class Tuesday afternoon to join ongoing protests surrounding Monday’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo. About 250 students from Roosevelt High School also walked out Tuesday morning but were reportedly heading back to the school.

Georgia schools get creative with cafeteria lunches (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution): Across the country, fewer students are opting for cafeteria lunches following the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and an uptick in meal prices. The decline has prompted some schools in Georgia to offer more meal choices and cook more food from scratch in a effort to get more students in the cafeteria line.

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November 25, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Why North Dakota is increasing, not cutting, higher education

When the great recession hit in 2008, most state legislators, including those in Washington, made up for a shortfall in revenue by cutting funding to higher education. That’s why college tuition skyrocketed over the past few years, often by double-digit amounts, at public colleges and universities across the country.

But two states — North Dakota and Alaska — have taken advantage of rapidly-improving economies in their states to put money back into higher education.

A Hechinger Report story out this week tells why North Dakota pumped more than a quarter of a billion dollars into the University of North Dakota in recent years, along with $80 million into North Dakota State University and another $179 million for public colleges and universities statewide.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: higher education

November 24, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Round-up: Corinthian Colleges sells off local schools, UVA suspends all fraternities

Corinthian Colleges sells off schools (AP): Corinthian Colleges, a chain of for-profit colleges facing scrutiny from federal and state regulations, is selling most of its campuses operating under the name Everest or WyoTech, including six campuses in Western Washington. A non-profit company called ECMC Group is buying 68 schools for $24 million and plans to close 12 of them after their current students graduate.

UVA suspends all frats amid sexual-assault allegations (Bloomberg): The University of Virginia has suspended all fraternities until Jan. 9 after a story appeared in Rolling Stone that reported several students there had made accusations of sexual assault that were not pursued by the university. The student at the center of the story says she was raped by seven men at a Phi Kappa Psi party in 2012.

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November 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

In 100 days, hopes for better communication in Seattle schools

In both of his state-of-the-district addresses last week — one hosted by the Alliance for Education and an encore speech at Seattle Public Schools headquarters — interim Superintendent Larry Nyland mostly talked in general terms about the problems and progress in the city’s public schools.

But he mentioned one new, specific initiative – a 100-day plan for improving communication between the district and parents, as well as between central office employees and the teachers, principals and others staff who work in schools.

We caught up with Nyland a few days later to ask him what the 100-day plan will include.

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Comments | Topics: communication, Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools

November 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

White House officials to hear from Native students on Monday

The federal Department of Education will visit Seattle next week to hear from Native American students, their families and educators about ways to better meet the academic needs of Native American youth.

The listening tour had been planned for earlier this month by the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, but was abruptly cancelled out of respect for grieving families after the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, in which four students were fatally shot, and another injured, before gunman Jaylen Fryberg turned the weapon on himself. Fryberg was a member of the Tulalip Tribes.

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November 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Videos: College students share struggles, triumphs at Education Lab event

On Nov. 15, five local college students appeared before an audience at the University of Washington to share their journeys of achieving college access despite significant challenges and set-backs. “Storytellers: How I Got into College” was hosted as part of the UW Dream Project’s Admissions Workshop Weekend, an annual event that brings dozens of high-school students from throughout King County to UW for assistance completing their college applications.

Go here for a written recap and photos from the evening’s program. Videos of each storyteller are posted below.

Jenée Myers Twitchell, director of the Dream Project, kicked off the event by sharing the story of her own upbringing in Yakima. “My story is filled with addicts,” she said. “Pretty much everybody in my family had gone through or needed to go through rehab.”

Her own struggles inspired her to begin working with local youth and start the Dream Project.

“I didn’t want it be about luck. I didn’t want getting to college to be about, ‘I just hope I meet the right person,'” she said.

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Comments | More in News, Video, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, storytellers, University of Washington

November 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Not a pretty picture: A call to action for black girls in school

Update, 11:05 a.m.: This post was updated to include information about students at Chief Sealth High School winning a film award related to race and education.

Across the country, educators are talking about new ways to handle student discipline, and while there is broad acknowledgement that punitive, zero-tolerance policies have fallen disproportionately on African-American boys, a recent report points out that black girls are suspended at a rate six times that of whites — and at rates that also surpass those for Latino, Asian and white boys.

Though research shows that they do not engage in more frequent or serious misbehavior than other groups, African-American girls account for 43 percent of all female students arrested at school. They constitute only 17 percent of the nation’s female students.

Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity,” authored by the National Women’s Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, highlights these facts and attempts to quantify some of the long-range costs.

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November 20, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Round-up: Seattle pre-K program won’t include transportation, shooting at Florida State

Seattle preschool program won’t include transportation: Mayor Ed Murray says Seattle remains committed to a diverse mix of students in its subsidized preschool program, despite a lack of funds for bus transportation. Murray’s new Office of Education and Early Learning is set to present a detailed implementation plan for the program to the city council by Feb. 23.

Alumnus shoots three at Florida State University (AP): Three people were injured early Thursday morning after a Florida State University alumnus opened fire in the school’s library. The gunman was shot and killed by police.

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November 20, 2014 at 5:00 AM

What’s new about Common Core tests? See for yourself

The room fell silent as heads bowed over test booklets.

I flipped to the first page and all the familiar anxieties flooded back. Will I have enough time? Will I second guess what I know is the right answer?

Relax, I told myself. I wasn’t in the school cafeteria sweating over a blue book, I was in a room of reporters, learning about the differences between old exams like the ones we took in middle school and a new set of exams aligned to the Common Core, which testing experts say measure a deeper level of thinking than ever before. The session was part of a conference on testing put on by the Education Writers Association, which Seattle Times reporter John Higgins and I attended this week.

We answered sample questions from a few different tests, including one from an old fourth-grade reading exam from an unidentified state, and another from the Smarter Balanced test, one of the two new tests based on Common Core learning standards. Roughly 20 states are starting to use Smarter Balanced, including Washington. (And you can do a little of the same, in the quiz at the end of this post.)

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Comments | More in News | Topics: common core, Smarter Balanced, testing

November 19, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Round-up: Whitman investigated over Title IX compliance, college applicants clean up digital profiles

Whitman College joins list of schools investigated under Title IX: The private, liberal-arts college located in Walla Walla is one of 86 schools around the U.S. being investigated over the handling of sexual-violence and harassment complaints. A student who called The Seattle Times said she made the complaint after the college did not take disciplinary action against a student whom she accused of sexually assaulting her.

College applicants cleaning up their act on social media (The New York Times): College admissions officers say they are finding less incriminating material in the social-media pages of applicants. In a survey of 403 admissions officers, 35 percent said they had visited an applicant’s social-media profile, but just 16 percent said they found something that hurt the potential students’ chances of being admitted.

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